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  • Writer's pictureCorey L. Wilson

Improving Energy Efficiency and Lowering Costs in Biotech and Pharma

Updated: Nov 28, 2023

Energy consumption in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology sectors is significant. In fact, because of higher standards for environmental conditions, the overall energy usage intensity (EUI) for pharmaceutical plants is 14x higher than other types of manufacturing facilities.

The average commercial office building built after 2000 has an average EUI of 81.4 kBtu/sq. ft. (257 kWh/m2), while the average pharmaceutical plant has an EUI of 1,210 kBtu/sq. ft. (3,819 kWh/m2). In 2016 in the U.S., these critical industries, which create products to alleviate suffering, prevent illness, cure diseases, and otherwise maintain and improve human health, were valued at approximately $446 billion in 2016.

The Future of Biotech and Pharma Power Usage: 5 Energy Saving Options

Finding ways to improve energy consumption can make a difference to the bottom line. Five biotech functions affected by energy efficiency are:

• Research and development

• Manufacturing

• Formulation

• Packing

• Filling

Every facility is unique, but the distribution of energy use in the pharmaceutical industry generally breaks down like this: 65% of the energy is used by HVAC systems, 25% used by plug loads and processes (such as microscopes, incubators, or sterilizers), and 10% of energy is consumed with lighting the facilities. The best options for lowering these costs are listed below:

1 – Reduce Energy Costs with MicroNOC's Clean Virtual Power (CVP™) Station

The number one energy savings opportunity (also approved by PG&E) is MicroNOC Inc.’s new 25% Off Electricity Cost Partnering Program. This new California wide program provides the largest energy savings potential without the need for solar, demand response, or rebates by utilizing MicroNOC’s trademarked energy storage system (ESS) and partnering program.

One of the primary reasons MicroNOC’s energy cost savings program was approved in 2018 by America’s largest utility provider Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is because it saves 25% on peak rates using behind-the-meter (BTM) clean energy for all types of industries and facilities. MicroNOC’s unique Clean Virtual Power (CVP™) Station and their 25% Off Electricity Cost Partnering Program provides the most reliable energy cost saving opportunity because they:

• Save 25% on peak electrical rates all year long

• Require no ESS equipment to purchase, lease or maintain

• Allow partners to save before they pay

• Help balance electricity rates and the grid

• Free-up funds for indirect spend costs (such as COVID-19)

• Do not require solar, demand response, or rebates

As most FM’s already know, electricity rates will continue to rise for the foreseeable future, and on-peak demand and energy rates are already 3 to 4 times higher than off-peak rates due to a large spike in electricity demand gas ‘peaker’ plants utilization between 4 pm to 9 pm for added energy.

California’s electrical utility providers such as PG&E, SCE and SDG&E drastically increased their peak time-of-use (TOU) rates between the hours of 4 pm and 9 pm and more so between June through September causing a large spike in electric costs, and this 5-hour time period of highest utility costs is the focus of MicroNOC’s program.

There are other ways to cut down on biotech and pharma power consumption (but not without varying amounts of capital) so it makes sense to improve efficiencies across the board, and here are four other options to consider as follows:

2 – Reschedule HVAC system functions

3 – Upgrade HVAC equipment

4 – Install an Energy Management System

5 – Upgrade to LED lighting

With their important mission to save and improve lives taking precedence, finding and approving the resources to improve energy efficiency in pharmaceutical and biotechnology facilities can be a tough sale for FM’s because of the upfront costs and potential disruption to activities.

However, that’s no longer the case when using MicroNOC’s first option (if existing peak time-of-use rates fall between 4 pm to 9 pm) because their 25% Off Electricity Cost Partnering Program requires NO capital investment, need for solar, or reliance on rebates. MicroNOC also makes it easy because they own, install, operate, and maintain their energy storage systems (ESS) for their energy saving partners.

Enroll in MicroNOC’s 25% Off Electricity Cost Partnering Program

If you would like to learn more about how to use less electricity and more efficiently to lower operation costs and improve cash flow, please check out the one-page flyer link at the Save 25% on Peak Rates Using Clean Energy flyer BUTTON below and then complete the one-minute Request for Preliminary Savings Report form BUTTON below and email it to Registration is simple as these 5 steps:

1. Complete a Request for Preliminary Savings Report form.

2. Submit the request form with provide copies of electric utility bills.

3. You will be provided a custom Preliminary Savings Report (PSR).

4. Submit a Service Registration Form along with the Registration Fee.

5. You’re on your way to lower electric energy rates.

Article content provided Adam Fairbanks CEO at Fairbanks Energy Services on August 3, 2020 and supplemented by Corey Lee Wilson.

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